Hedyn - Caryl Lewis [adapt. Meinir Wyn Edwards]
*For Welsh review, see language toggle switch on top of webpage*
(suggested) reading age: 9+
(suggested) interest age: 9+
Genre: #fiction #adventure #magicalrealism
Illustrations: George Ermos
· mental health - OCPD/hoarding
I’m glad I remembered to pack Hedyn in my hand luggage because it came in really handy to pass the time on my fifteen-hour flight back from Japan!
Seed (of change)
Marty’s grandfather is a rather eccentric old man, who’s forever inventing things and spending time in his allotment. It’s rather fitting, then, that he should gift his grandson a single seed on his birthday, much to the boy’s dismay! You know that classic ‘oh geez, thanks’ feeling when you get a rubbish present (like a pair of old socks) – well that was Marty’s feeling after receiving a somewhat underwhelming gift.
Although it initially seemed like any normal seedling, it was in fact, far from normal. The two soon come to realize that this was indeed a very special plant, and Grandpa has some big plans for it. But first, the plant must be grown to full size – something that initially goes quite well with his awful mixture of God-knows-what! Soon after, some strange things start to happen…
Family is family
For me, the main strength of the novel is the character work by the author. Yes, they go on an exciting adventure, but more importantly, the author manages to create characters you really care about, and you’re always wanting things to be ok for them.
Marty's Father has long gone, and he lives with his Mother as they struggle to get by. The subject of mental health is given careful attention in the novel, (albeit as a bit of a side story) as we realize early on that Marty's mother tends to hoard things, until the house is overwhelmed with stuff – something that puts their relationship under strain.
No wonder Marty’s so keen to get to the allotment! A quiet boy, he tries to keep himself to himself, but the bullies sense this from the get go and make his life even more miserable. Watching him grow in confidence over the course of the novel is great to see.
Much of that is thanks to his new friend Gracie, a strong and determined person, who refuses to let the fact she's deaf and needs to wear a cochlear implant stop her from doing anything. In fact, she sees it as her otherworldly power, rather than something that hold her back. She’s certainly not looking for pity and she gives as good as she gets! Sure, she can look after herself, but whilst she seems tough on the outside, there's also another, softer, side to her. She has big ambitions to become a dancer, not that her father has bothered to notice.
Yes, the characters all have their personal struggles, but it's wonderful to see them overcome these, develop as individuals and come together at the end.
Front cover gets 10/10
The cover gets a high rating from me, and it’s probably one of the best covers this year. It’s got a high production value feel to it and it sets the bar high for Welsh books. As I keep saying, we have to invest in attractive covers if we want that book picked up off the shelf.
Love, hope and dreams
This is a heartwarming and memorable novel that encourages us to be brave and follow our dreams, no matter what! If I have to make a comparison, I’d say it was a magical mix between James and the giant peach, Cinderella, Jack and the beanstalk and the Disney Pixar fim, Up!
If you’re looking for a bit of magical realism adventure, but you want characters you care about, then give Hedyn (or the English version, Seed) a try!
Publisher Y Lolfa
Released: Mai 2022
DON'T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT, READ JON GOWER'S EXCELLENT REVIEW ON NATION.CYMRU: